Farewell to a smiling curmudgeon
An ill-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions. A grasping, miserly churl.
Jerry Mead, the long-time U.S. wine writer, wine educator and wine judge who died last week after a long battle against lymphoma and heart disease, called himself a "curmudgeon," but the reality of the man was in no way akin to the dictionary definition of the term.
One of America's best known and well-loved wine writers, Mead was editor and publisher of Wine Trader magazine. When he signed his weekly columns as "The Wine Curmudgeon (TWC)," he did so with a big belly laugh, alluding to his righteous anger at intervention by government, lobbyists and the whole realm of opponents that he called "neo-Prohibitionists" into what he saw as the free-spirited, free-market world of wine.
Said his old friend, wine lover and wine writer Randy "Bucko" Buckner, "Jerry was a pioneer in the fight against government intervention into the world of wine. One of the longest running columnists in America, his articles have been followed by winelovers around the world. His New World International Wine Competition started off the year's rounds of judgings. Jerry was only 61 years old. He will be deeply missed."
In Jerry's memory, let's take one last look at a few of his curmudgeonly comments from recent editions of Wine Trader, which remain online as of this date at http://www.wines.com/winetrader/index.html:
There are still folks who do not see the constant erosion of freedoms to do business connected with adult beverages, and a wave of new laws attacking wine, beer and spirits from every side, as a neo-Prohibitionist conspiracy. But that's just what it is, folks ...
In addition to Wine Trader, Mead wrote about wine for many publications over some 30 years. He was a founder of the Orange County (Calif.) Fair wine competition, the annual Jerry D. Mead New World International Wine Competition in San Bernardino, Calif., and a consumer organization, Wine Investigation for Novices and Oenophiles (W.I.N.O.).
A private family service was held. His family has asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be sent to:
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Three for under $10
Dark ruby, with a light, fresh aroma of black cherries and a delicately herbaceous "stemmy" quality that develops with time in the glass. Crisp red-fruit flavors and fresh-fruit acidity with a whiff of fragrant black pepper. A light but well-balanced wine, pleasant for quaffing or washing down simple food. U.S. importer: Jorge Ordoñez, represented locally by Vintner Select, Cincinnati. (April 16, 2000)
FOOD MATCH: Satisfactory match with a pan-grilled T-bone, if a bit light to be a perfect marriage.
Thomas Mitchell 1998 South Eastern Australia Marsanne ($8.99)
FOOD MATCH: Couldn't ask for a better match with grilled shad with lemon butter.
Chateau Mas Neuf 1997 Costieres de Nîmes ($7.99)
FOOD MATCH: Light enough not to overpower a simple veal chop.
Origins and Ancient History of Wine
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Vol. 2, No. 13, April 17, 2000